At 18.00 this evening, at the Altar of Our Lady of Succour in the Gregorian Chapel of the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francis presided at the recitation of the Holy Rosary, which opened the prayer marathon on the theme “Earnest prayer was made to God by the Church” (Acts 12: 5) to invoke the end of the pandemic.
The initiative, taken at the behest of the Pope, was promoted by the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation, and involves thirty Marian shrines around the world which, in turn, will guide the prayer of the Rosary for the entire Church on each day of the month of May, traditionally the Marian month.
On 31 May Pope Francis will lead the recitation of the Rosary in the Vatican Gardens to conclude the prayer marathon.
The following are the prayers recited by the Holy Father at the end of the Holy Rosary:
Prayer of the Holy Father before the recitation of the Rosary
At the beginning of the month dedicated to Our Lady, we unite in prayer with all the shrines across the world, with the faithful and all people of good will, to entrust into the hands of our Holy Mother all of humanity, sorely tried by this period of pandemic.
Each day of this month of May we will entrust to You, Mother of Mercy, the many people who have been touched by the virus and continue to suffer its consequences: from our deceased brothers and sisters to the families who are living the pain and uncertainty of tomorrow; from the sick to the doctors, scientists, nurses who are engaged on the front lines of this battle; from the volunteers to all the professionals who have rendered their precious service in favour of others; from the people in mourning and pain to those who, with a simple smile and a kind word, have brought comfort to those in need; from those — especially women — who have suffered violence within the walls of their homes due to forced closure, to those who wish to enthusiastically resume the rhythms of daily life.
Mother of Relief, welcome us under your mantle and protect us, sustain us in the hour of trial and enkindle in our hearts the light of hope for the future.
Prayer of the Holy Father after the recitation of the Rosary
Under your protection we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. In the present dramatic situation, full of suffering and anguish that grips the entire world, we turn to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.
O Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes upon us in this coronavirus pandemic, and comfort those who are lost and weeping for their deceased loved ones, sometimes buried in a way that wounds the soul. Support those who are anguished over their sick because — so as to prevent contagion — they cannot be close to them. Instil confidence in those who are anxious about the uncertain future and the consequences for the economy and for work.
Mother of God and our Mother, implore for us from God, Father of Mercy, that this hard trial may end and that a horizon of hope and peace may return. As at Cana, you intervened with your divine Son, asking him to comfort the families of the sick and the victims, and to open their hearts to trust.
Protect the doctors, nurses, healthcare personnel and volunteers who in this time of emergency are on the front lines and put their lives at risk to save other lives. Accompany their heroic efforts and give them strength, goodness and health.
Be close to those who night and day assist the sick and to the priests who, with pastoral solicitude and evangelical commitment, seek to help and support everyone.
Holy Virgin, enlighten the minds of men and women of science so that they may find the right solutions to overcome this virus. Assist the leaders of nations so that they may work with wisdom, solicitude and generosity to help those who lack the necessities of life, planning social and economic solutions with foresight and a spirit of solidarity.
Most Holy Mary, touch consciences so that the enormous sums used to increase and perfect weapons may instead be used to promote adequate studies to prevent similar catastrophes in the future.
Beloved Mother, make the world grow in the sense of belonging to one great family, in the awareness of the bond that unites us all, so that with a spirit of brotherhood and solidarity we may come to the aid of the many poor and destitute situations. Encourage firmness of faith, perseverance in serving, constancy in praying.
O Mary, comforter of the afflicted, embrace all your afflicted children and obtain that God intervenes with his omnipotent hand to free us from this terrible epidemic, so that life may resume its normal course in serenity. We entrust ourselves to You, who shine on our path as a sign of salvation and hope.
O merciful, O pious, O sweet Virgin Mary, may you guide the steps of your pilgrims who wish to pray to you and love you in the shrines dedicated to you throughout the world, under the most varied titles that recall your intercession. May you be a sure guide for everyone. Amen.